This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka farm building style of a century ago.
The location for the kajiba slopes down about a foot so a dry stack stone retaining wall was built to level the pad after removing the organic layer of soil. The pit for the smith and the forge was laid out and blocked in and then stones and broken bricks were used to fill around it, along with 3 tons of pit run and then 2 tons of road base. Large flat post foundation stones were set into the road base and leveled.
As the pad was filled, the Japanese anvil was installed along with an in-floor water bucket and a sunken container for tojiru (clay slurry). A half ton of 1/4″ blue crush with fines was reclaimed from the former workshop floor along with a half ton of reclaimed joint sand help to level the floor. The floor was then brought up to finished height with a combination of natural flagstones and reclaimed fire bricks and red clay bricks.
The next steps will be to prepare and assemble the timber frame.
Gathering materials began in Fall 2018, site preparation in December 2018, the lumber was milled in the first week of January 2019, the frame assembled February 5th, and roofed Feb 7th. Many of the materials are reclaimed, some gathered from the former backlot and set of Bethlehem Walk in Parksville, Canada. Thanks to all who were involved in one way or another in helping facilitate this project, providing space, time, materials, assistance, advice, and encouragement.